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Our own navajo, as well as fellow Kossacks Bill McKibben, boatsie, citisven, dsb, Glen the Plumber, remembrance, and TheLittleOne, spent the weekend participating in Summer Heat, marching on Chevron's Richmond Refinery. Saturday was the one-year anniversary of the refinery's explosion, fire, and leak of toxic fumes, and demonstrators took their protest to Chevron's front door.
Two days ago, Idle No More and other indigenous activists took center stage at the demonstration, echoing the voices and invoking the spirits of our ancestors, this land's first keepers. They demanded a halt to the importation and processing of tar sands and other destructive practices, and invited those present to join in the fight for environmental and climate justice.
As always, navajo was there with her camera to record it all.
Watch for her upcoming diary this week, detailing her experience and featuring the images she captured while joining arms with hundreds of other American Indian and First Nations activists in the most urgent battle of our time.
To whet your appetite, below is one example: Canadian First Nations signs demanding that the government "HONOR OUR TREATIES," flanked on the viewer's left by the iconic American Indian flag (we have one of those!), and on the right by the yellow Idle No More banner. What's not immediately evident is the eclectic, and electric, collection of marchers, speakers, singers, dancers, drummers — all there on behalf of Mother Earth. You will see and feel it, however, when she posts her diary.
CASE SPARKS LITIGATION CROSSFIRE
Last month, to the tune of racist commentary by Samuel Alito, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Baby Veronica could be taken from her current Oklahoma home with her Cherokee biological father and sent to South Carolina to live with a white adoptive family.
Now, the arrows of litigation are flying from all directions.
Last Friday, the SCOTUS rejected father Dusten Brown's last-ditch effort to save his daughter. Mr. Brown requested a temporary stay of the order to transfer his child, which the Court denied without comment. Interestingly, however, Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor both noted that they would have granted the request for a stay.
Meanwhile, a South Carolina Family Court judge finalized the adoption proceedings, and ordered that Baby Veronica be transferred to the custody of the Capobiancos. Declaring the matter "settled," that judge, Daniel Martin, Jr., additionally rejected a Cherokee Nation lawyer's request for an emergency injunction pending a hearing to determine the now-four-year-old little girl's best interests, and imposed a gag order on the parties to the adoption proceedings.
The Cherokee Nation has vowed to fight. The Native American Rights Fund [NARF] has followed suit, filing a complaint on behalf of Baby Veronica late Thursday in federal district court, citing civil rights violations. Joining NARF in the suit are both the National Congress of American Indians [NCAI] and the National Indian Child Welfare Association [NICWA].
Meanwhile, the child's biological mother, Christinna Maldonado, has filed her own lawsuit, seeking a declaration that the ICWA is unconstitutional on equal protection grounds, arguing that considering "race" is impermissible. While legal experts tend to agree that her claim is frivolous and stands no chance of success, others are cautious: Alito's snide and open racism in the Court's decision, coupled with some flagrant conflicts of interest involving Maldonado's lawyer, certainly leave the ICWA on less sure ground than it was a month ago.
Sources in Washington have pointed out that [lawyer Lori] Alvino McGill's role in Adoptive Couple is more than that of a spokesperson for Christy Maldonado. As it turns out, Chief Justice Roberts and former solicitor general Ted Olson, both of whom sided with the Capobiancos, attended Ms. Alvino McGill's 2006 wedding to Matthew McGill who, coincidentally, was a clerk for John Roberts in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Therefore, given the cozy nature and small world influence in the Capitol's legal circles, observers say it was no surprise when Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl was granted petition of certiorari in January.Eleven other women have joined Maldonado's suit to overturn the ICWA. One of them is apparently a white woman who is trying to claim Cherokee ancestry, and then use that claim to invalidate the ICWA:
Joining Maldonado in the suit are 10 unnamed women and Samantha Danielle Lancaster of Minnesota, who identified herself as white but thought she might be 1/64th Cherokee."Reprehensible" is about the kindest word I can come up with for this suit, and particularly for the behavior of Ms. Lancaster. I can come up with several other words, but some of them might result in my banning.
If our histories, and South Dakota's current practice of stealing Indian children, have taught us anything, it is that the ICWA must be preserved and strengthened. You can help do so by supporting the Native American Rights Fund, here.
Speaking of sins again Indian children, from paradise50 comes news of yet another historical horror show.
The histories of people of color on this continent are rife with examples of abusive experimentation and medical "treatment." The so-called "Tuskegee Experiment," the alleged syphilis study, is perhaps the most infamous, but many others exist. There was the unconsented, forced sterilization of Indian women by the Indian Health Service — and we now know that women prisoners in California, disproportionately women of color, were still being sterilized against their will by the state's Department of Corrections at least as recently as 2010. There was the study of Havasupai Indians by University of Arizona researchers that involved taking samples of their blood and DNA for specific analysis, to which the participants consented; they did not, however, consent to subsequent uses of their samples for other purposes, including self-promotion and financial gain by the researchers involved.
Now comes a story that raises the spectre of a whole host of new historical horrors, because it involves children forcibly relocated to Indian residential schools.
From 1942 into the 1950s, "scientists" employed by the Canadian government conducted a series of alleged "studies" of malnutrition. They used, literally, a captive audience as the subjects of their experiments: nearly 1,000 hungry, malnourished First Nations children forcibly enrolled in Canada's residential schools, the government-mandated facilities for educating First Nations children.
The first round of experiments occurred in northern Manitoba, with an experimental group of 125 people who received "nutritional supplements," and a control group of 175 who received none. The second round was launched five years later, and involved nearly 1,000 children across six boarding schools, without, apparently, anyone's knowledge, much less consent:
In one school, where it was found that students were receiving less than half the daily recommended intake of milk, the researchers tested the effects of tripling the children's milk allowance — but only after keeping it at the same, low level for two more years to establish a baseline against which to compare the effects. At another school, the researchers ran a randomized, double-blind controlled trial — giving one group vitamin C supplements and the other a placebo — again after a two-year baseline period. Children at a third were given bread made with a type of fortified flour that was not approved for sale in Canada; many of them later developed anaemia. The researchers also prevented the children at all six schools from receiving preventive dental care, because oral health was a parameter used to assess nutrition.The first one is especially disturbing, since we now know that the vast majority of people of color (and 85-95% of American Indians), cannot metabolize dairy. Trebling their milk intake must have doomed those children to horrible pain and discomfort (and probably often embarrassing accidents), to say nothing of the long-term health problems that would have resulted.
There is, predictably, an attempt to minimize it — although the medical ethicist quoted for that purpose undoubtedly doesn't even realize that she's doing so when she refers to "the context of that time." While it is true that principles of "informed consent" were not yet fully internalized by the medical and scientific professions in 1942, they were enshrined in the 1947 Nuremberg Code developed during the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi officers and medical professionals.
But some acts are simply wrong, no matter the "time" or "context."
The real key here is the one that neither the ethicist nor the author addresses, which is to go back one step further and ask why it is that officials thought it was appropriate to engage in such [mis]conduct with this population. The thought of such behavior toward white, middle-class children, even in 1947, is frankly unimaginable. But when a population is regarded as "less than" — particularly when it involves a community of color in a white dominant culture — it becomes much easier to rationalize obscenity.
And obscenity it was. The scientific method was already well established, yet these "studies" appeared to have no particular goal, nor was the "research" used for any scientific purpose:
"It’s not just bad ethics, it’s bad science," [Ryerson University medical ethicist Nancy] Walton says of the Canadian government research. "They didn’t appear to try and prove or disprove any hypothesis that I can see, or make any statistical correlations."Canada's indigenous leaders are, understandably, outraged. The country's Assembly of First Nations has demanded that the government turn over all documents and other evidence pertaining to these "studies."
Canada has already established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, tasked with investigating the legacy of the nation's residential schools. According to the country's minister of aboriginal affairs, Bernard Valcourt, the government has already turned over to that commission some 900 documents related to the malnutrition "studies."
Perhaps the National Congress of American Indians should look into the possibility that similar "studies" were conducted here.
A side note: When an entity of the dominant culture proposes to engage in "truth, healing and reconciliation" for a population that it has subjected to systematic abuse and discrimination that meets the legal definition of genocide, it is perhaps not advisable to begin its official mandate with the phrase "There is an emerging and compelling desire to put the events of the past behind us . . . ."
More "This Week In American Indian News" and Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Below the Frybead Thingey
Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, and Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota tribal nations, joined by Native voting rights group Four Directions, Inc., had filed a request with the South Dakota Board of Elections seeking its support for the use of federal funds to establish satellite voting locations on their respective reservations for the 2014 election cycle. Last Wednesday, the Board voted 4-3 to deny that request, with the deciding vote cast by Secretary of State Jason Gant (R).
The tribes and Four Directions say the satellite stations, which would provide voter-registration and absentee-voting services in the weeks prior to Election Day in Wanblee, Eagle Butte and Fort Thompson, are essential to Native Americans seeking more election access.Records show, however, that Gant has opposed this from the start, engaging in delaying tactics throughout the process. Now he wants to wait for an opinion from the federal Election Assistance Commission [EAC] — despite the fact that the EAC remains essentially defunct. And why is it defunct? Because Republicans in Congress like it that way. They have refused since 2011 to nominate officials to fill its positions, and the body has not had enough members for a quorum since 2010. It has not had a full staff since 2009.
As a Republican Secretary of State, Jason Gant knows this. He cannot claim ignorance — or, if he can, then he is supremely unqualified for his position and should step down immediately anyway. His tie-breaking vote to deny support for HAVA funds for satellite voting locations on Indian reservations can be seen for nothing other than what it truly is: yet another foot-dragging stalling tactic designed to ensure Republican control of South Dakota by denying Indians their right to vote.
NO NATIVE AMERICANS PRESENT.
On July 29th, new Interior Secretary Sally Jewell convened the first meeting of the even newer White House Council on Native American Affairs, which she chairs in her official capacity. Representatives from offices and agencies across the executive branch were there.
No actual Native Americans were in attendance.
Three days prior to the meeting, Jewell hosted a conference call with tribal leaders from across the country, and according to her staff, "this input helped guide the meeting."
Great. Did it ever occur to anyone that perhaps the thing to do would be to fly said tribal leaders to Washington for the meeting? Or, perhaps better yet, bring the meeting to tribal leaders? There would have been great value in getting executive-branch officials the hell out of the Beltway Bubble and into Indian Country.
Derek Bailey, former chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, said he does not trust federal policy makers to be able to accurately represent tribal views without tribal leaders in the room.It's unclear who bears primary responsibility for this boneheaded move, but someone needs some educating. The whole thing smacks of the usual patronizing Great White Father-ism that has been inflicted on tribal nations since first contact.
Secretary Jewell: Are you listening?
In recent years, a famed Indian market in Minneapolis has been owned by non-Indian interests. That is, until May 31, when Ancient Traders Market passed back to Native hands by way of the American Indian Community Development Corporation [AICDC].
In the 1970s, some Indian women in Minneapolis saw a need in their communities: for traditional foods and other products, made well, and made available at reasonable prices in a way that would support Native businesses. To fill that void, they formed the American Indian Business Development Corporation [AIBDC], and launched the Ancient Traders Market.
Over the next 30 years, the AIBDC would reorganize under various names, but always with the goal of promoting Native economic development, finally becoming the Great Neighborhoods Development Corporation. Great Neighborhoods eventually expanded into North Minneapolis, using the Ancient Traders Market as collateral to obtain a loan from Local Initiatives Support Corporation [LISC] to finance its development project.
Then came the Bush crash of 2008 — and with it, the bankruptcy of Great Neighborhoods. The property went into foreclosure, but LISC was no ordinary creditor: The group actively sought to return the property to American Indian ownership.
The AICDC and the LISC have entered into a multiyear partnership agreement that would shore up community and economic development in the city's Phillips Neighborhood, where the market is located, while simultaneously returning the market and the building in which it is housed to American Indian ownership. The purchase price was $2.2 million.
This is only the latest in the AICDC's efforts to promote Native ownership and sustain Native development:
AICDC's role in such initiatives was outlined in the American Indian Community Blueprint, which was created by the Native American Community Development Institute in 2010. The Blueprint's introduction states that the document "establishes a community-development framework for asset-based, solution-oriented strategies designed to advance American Indian interests and opportunities" in the Twin Cities.Currently, the building itself houses a diverse group of tenants, including the African American AIDS Task Force, the Southeast Asian Refugee Community Home, and the Leech Lake [Band of Ojibwe] Urban Office. That kind of diversity provides a built-in base for future community organizing and collaboration among a broad array of underserved populations. It would be encouraging to see the AICDC not only retain such tenants, but support outreach and collaboration among them in future community and economic development efforts.
So it's come to my attention that yet another contemporary pop-culture standard is getting it wrong in a particularly toxic way.
This time, it's the A&E Network's critically acclaimed television series Longmire, based on Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire mystery series of books. [Whether Johnson, a white author, has engaged in the same casually racist inaccuracies in his books I can't say, not having read them; in my experience, such books are usually at least as problematic as their film and television versions.]
A few weeks ago, it was an episode involving a supposed contrary. They used the word "heyoka," which is not a Cheyenne word at all, but a Sioux word. And the lead character mispronounced is as hye-oka, rather than hay-oka. And it doesn't mean "contrary" at all — there's a different word for that — but rather, "clown."
And the Cheyenne word for "clown," as nearly as I can tell, is háaenóvetane. The word for "contrary" seems to be hohnohka — which, with a guess at pronunciation, is probably rather close to heyoka — but you know what they say about when "close" actually counts, and this ain't horseshoes.
Oh, and the "contrary" turned out to be an alcoholic schizophrenic who murdered his own sister, a woman who was taking money from desperate people and pretending to have "visions" about their loved ones.
No negative stereotypes there.
But last week's episode featured a character — the African American wife of a [dead] Northern Cheyenne character — announcing that she was "not exactly the typical Cheyenne squaw."
First: "Wife" ≠ "woman." In English, or in Cheyenne, or in Anishinaabemowin and the other Algonquin languages from which the word "squaw" is originally derived — and probably not in any other language, either. Because not every woman is a "wife" (and, in some cultures, not every "wife" is a woman).
The Cheyenne word for "woman" is hē'e, pronounced more or less like heh', with a glottal sound at the end. Which, of course, sounds nothing like "squaw" — or even like skwa or iskwa or skwe or iskwe or kwe or ikwe.
But never let anything like a fact get in the way of an opportunity to use a stereotypical [contemporary] slur.
And none of this even touches the series' habit of having Henry Standing Bear (played by Lou Diamond Phillips) speak in a stereotyped Hollywood-Indian cadence, to say nothing of its constant portrayals of other Indians as drunk, violent, and dysfunctional — in a word, as savages.
I also wonder what Northern Cheyenne activists think of the series having its lead Indian character own and run a bar.
It's just one more in a long line of recent cinematic efforts to play to stereotypes. It's not just Tonto; it's the casino-related corruption and violence that marks the Indian characters' roles in The Killing; it's the casino-related corruption and violence — and the use of non-Indians in leading "Indian" roles — in Banshee.
It's chapter and verse of the same old song, and it stinks.
They might as well stick a dead crow on it.
Let's build communities!
Every region needs a meatspace community like SFKossacks.
We take care of each other in real life.
I urge YOU to take the lead and organize one in your region.
Please tell us about it if you do and we're here for advice.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY
NEW GROUPS IN THE PROCESS OF ORGANIZING:These are the groups that have started since * NEW DAY * began. Please Kosmail navajo if you have started a group before that.
Send a Kosmail to the organizers and ask for an invitation to the group.• Northern Indiana Area: Kosmail Tim Delaney
• Long Island: Kosmail grannycarol
• Northern Michigan: Kosmail JillS
• Nebraska: Kosmail Nebraska68847Dem
• Westburbia Chicago Kossacks: Kosmail Majordomo
• New York Hudson Valley Kossacks: Kosmail boran2
• North Carolina Triangle Kossacks: Kosmail highacidity
• Caprock Kossacks (Panhandle/Caprock/Lubbock/Amarillo area) : Kosmail shesaid
• West Texas Kossacks (including Big Bend Region and El Paso) : Kosmail Yo BubbaNote to the above new leaders: Feel free to leave a comment any day reminding readers about your new group. Also, tell us about your progress in gathering members. Kosmail me when you've chosen a good name for your group and have created a the group. Then I'll move you to the NEW GROUPS LIST. When you've planned a date for your first event I'll make a banner for you to highlight your event in our diaries and your diaries.
NEW GROUPS LIST:
• Kansas City Kossacks - Formed Oct 15, 2012, Organizer: [Founder stepped down]
ESTABLISHED GROUPS LIST: (List will grow as we discover them)
Sunday, August 11th
Nashville KosKats Meet-up
TIME: 1:00 PM
1805 21st Avenue South • Nashville
ORGANIZER: Send ZenTrainer a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Nashville KosKats Meet-Up
1. peregrine kate
3. Land of Enchantment
5. Patrick is Lucky
Sandy on Signal
Saturday, August 17th
Los Angeles Kossacks Dine at Saladang Song Again
TIME: 1:30 PM
LOCATION: Saladang Song
383 S Fair Oaks Ave • Pasadena
ORGANIZER: Send Dave in Northridge a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: LA Kossacks: Meetup: August 17, 1:30 PM, Pasadena, Saladang Song
1. Dave in Northridge
SFKossacks BBQ in the Wine Country
LOCATION: Andrew McGuire's home in the Wine Country
Address to be given privately to RSVPs • Windsor
1. Andrew McGuire
6. Hunter/elfling offspring
14. Mr. dksbook
17. side pocket
18. Mrs. side pocket
20. ceebee7's sister
Glen The Plumber
Send navajo a kosmail if you post a diary about an event so we can update our round-up.
Okay. Floor's open.
Tell us what you are doing on this NEW DAY?